Removal and speciation of heavy metals along the treatment path of wastewater in subsurface-flow constructed wetlands.
ABSTRACT This study was conducted to: (1) evaluate the performance of constructed wetlands in removing Zn, Pb and Cd, respectively, and Zn, Pb, Cd and Cu in combination and (2) investigate the speciation patterns of the dissolved metals differentiated according to their detectability by anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV) and their lability towards Chelex resin along the treatment path of metal-containing wastewater in horizontal subsurface-flow constructed wetlands. Four laboratory scale wetland units planted with cattails (Typha latifolia) were operated outdoors for six months. Three of the units were, respectively, fed with primary-treated domestic wastewater spiked with Zn(II), Pb(II) and Cd(II) whilst the fourth was spiked with a combination of Zn(II), Pb(II), Cd(II) and Cu(II). The results demonstrate that a metal removal efficiency of over 99% was achievable for wetland units treating the metals singly or in combination provided the sorption capacity of the media was not exceeded. When treating the metals in combination, an antagonistic effect, more significantly for Pb and Cd, on the sorptive metal uptake by media was observed. Based on the metal speciation patterns, the wetland system seemed to be capable of maintaining the ASV-labile metal species at relatively low level (< 10%) before media exhaustion.